Our Team

The investigators and lawyers at APPEAL work full time for the charity, investigating and litigating miscarriages of justice and advocating for reform.

All APPEAL’s casework staff have experience of working on case investigation in some of the most highly regarded non-profit law practices in the United States, and a comparative systems approach informs all of APPEAL’s work.


Emily Bolton

Emily is APPEAL’s Director and founder. She directs APPEAL’s law practice as well as the charity. Her casework focuses on challenges to unsafe convictions and on achieving access to evidence. Emily is a practicing solicitor and formerly an attorney-at-law in the State of Louisiana.

After graduation from law school, Emily was awarded an Equal Justice Fellowship and later a Soros Advocacy Fellowship to establish Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO), a non-profit law office providing legal representation to the wrongfully convicted in the United States. IPNO grew from a staff of one to nine during her tenure, and has so far freed 35 innocent prisoners. Returning to the UK in 2004, Emily helped develop the UK legal action charity Reprieve of which she is a co-founder.

Emily then received an Unltd* Level 1 Award and a Shackleton Leadership Award to work on establishing APPEAL.

In 2007 Emily brought a wrongful conviction case to the Court of Appeal via the Criminal Cases Review Commission, as a test of the proposed APPEAL methodology. The Court quashed the conviction and the prisoner was compensated at the highest level available at that time.

Emily holds a B.A. (Hons) in Philosophy with History and an MA in Women’s Studies from the University of Melbourne, and a J.D. from Tulane University School of law, where she graduated cum laude in 1999.



Edward McGowan

Ed is an employed barrister working full time with APPEAL. He directly represents APPEAL’s clients and also supervises the screening of applications for assistance from prisoners.  He is also an attorney-at-law in the state of New York.

Ed joined APPEAL in 2019 after spending 25 years practicing law in New York as an defence attorney. Ed worked for 11 years at The Bronx Defenders, an internationally renowned public defender office, where he supervised criminal practice team and successfully defended in dozens of cases ranging in severity from low-level offences to murder. Bronx Defenders pioneered the “holistic” model of criminal defence that APPEAL aspires to emulate here.

Ed began his legal career as a staff attorney with the criminal defence division of the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan. In 1994, he joined the firm of Sivin & Miller , Esq., where he expanded his practice to include tort litigation, with particular focus on cases involving police brutality, false arrest and malicious prosecution. Three years later, with a partner, Ed formed the firm of Goldstein & McGowan, LLP, which concentrated on civil and criminal trial practice. He then joined Bronx Defenders . Ed received his J.D. from New York Law School in 1992, and also holds a B.F.A. in drama from New York University.



Naima Sakande

Naima is APPEAL’s Women’s Justice Advocate, managing APPEAL’s Women’s Justice Initiative. She specialises in case investigation for criminal appeals on behalf of women with histories of domestic abuse and mental illness. She also takes responsibility for APPEAL’s communications and produces its Surviving Injustice podcast.

Before joining APPEAL in December 2017, Naima managed programmes for young women affected by gangs in London at the youth charity, Leap Confronting Conflict. She also previously worked on pre-trial criminal cases as an Investigator for The Bronx Defenders, an internationally renowned public defender office in New York City. She is a trustee of the charity Women in Prison who campaign for radical alternatives to prison for women in the justice system.

She is also a 2019 Griffins Society Fellow, conducting research on the barriers to appeal for women with the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University. She is the creator and host of the podcast, Third Culture, which explores the heritage and stories of people with mixed identities.

Naima has a B.A. in International Development from Yale University. 

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James Burley

James is an Investigator at APPEAL working on cases at the CCRC and Court of Appeal levels, as well as on evidence access challenges in the Adminisitrative Court. James is also responsible for managing APPEAL’s intake and screening process, handling hundreds of applications for assistance per year.

Prior to joining APPEAL in March 2016, James interned at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center in New Orleans, helping to investigate pre-trial death penalty cases with a particular focus on using public records law to obtain records.

Before this James volunteered on the death penalty team at Reprieve as a researcher. He has also worked at Skoob Books, and was news editor of London Student.

James has a BA in philosophy from University College London and holds an Advanced Professional Certificate in Investigative Practice.


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Abigail Wheatcroft

Abigail is an Investigator working on a range of cases at APPEAL at the CCRC and Court of Appeal levels.

Abigail also plays a key role in developing the charity’s campaigns for reform . Additionally, she manages the charity’s resource development, including grant writing and reporting.

Prior to joining APPEAL in 2017, Abigail worked at the charity Next Link, providing domestic abuse support services to vulnerable women. Before this, she spent 8 months interning at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, working on pre-trial death penalty cases in the Deep Southern United States.

Abigail has a B.A. in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies and holds an Advanced Professional Certificate in Investigative Practice.




Tara Casey

Tara focuses on the Women’s Justice Initiative at APPEAL, working on individual cases at the CCRC and Court of Appeal levels, and contributing to campaign efforts.

Tara has previously worked as a student attorney at the Capital Punishment Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin and the Family Law/Domestic Violence Clinic at the Legal Services Center at Harvard Law School.

She has also volunteered for the Clann Project and Justice for Magdalenes Research in Ireland, two organisations which campaign for effective redress for women and children who were institutionalised in industrial laundries and mother and baby homes throughout the twentieth century.

Following completion of an L.L.M. , Tara joined APPEAL in 2019 having been awarded the Kaufman Fellowship by Harvard Law School.

Alex Kane

Alex is the Clerk to the Westminster Commission on Miscarriages of Justice

Alex joined APPEAL in 2019 after volunteering with the organisation since December 2018. Prior to that, he studied for an LLM at Queen Mary University of London, specialising in international criminal law, having previously graduated from University College London. Alex also conducts casework and tribunal representation in various areas of social welfare with Citizens Advice and the Free Representation Unit, and has volunteered in the Advice and Information team at Liberty.

Alex works alongside Hannah Swirsky who assists with APPEAL’S duties as Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Miscarriages of Justice. Hannah was previously Parliamentary Researcher for Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield. Alongside working on the APPG one day a week, Hannah works part-time at Rene Cassin, the Jewish voice for human rights. Hannah is studying for a M.A. in Human Rights at the London School of Economics, having previously graduated from Bristol University with a B.Sc in Politics and International Relations.


Board of Trustees


Joe Hingston

Joe Hingston is a practicing barrister in England and Wales, acting exclusively for the defence. He also assists in the representation of individuals facing the death penalty and consults on various death penalty projects with the UK charity Reprieve. Before being called to the Bar, Joe worked for a number years in the United States assisting in the representation of individuals facing the death penalty in America’s Deep South, leading the investigation on behalf of scores of defendants at all stages of the capital trial process. Joe is the Chair of the Board of Directors of APPEAL.



Glyn Maddocks

Glyn Maddocks is a UK solicitor who has worked on wrongful conviction cases for over 20 years. Glyn has a deep understanding of the functioning of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and the Court of Appeal as well as of the hurdles facing exonerated prisoners seeking compensation. In 2005, in recognition of his work over a twelve-year period representing Paul Blackburn, who had his conviction quashed after serving nearly 25 years, Glyn was named Welsh Lawyer of the Year. Glyn is a founding Trustee of APPEAL.



Christopher David 

Chris is Counsel in the London office of US firm, WilmerHale. He specialises in white collar crime, including allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption, insider dealing or money laundering. In his role at APPEAL, Chris focuses on engaging other major law firms in working on a pro bono basis on APPEAL’s cases.



Adeela Khan


Adeela is a criminal defence solicitor at Edward Fail, Bradshaw and Waterson. Adeela has wide experience with all types of criminal cases including murder, drugs supply, fraud and serious sexual offences. Adeela has particular expertise in public order offences.


Advisory Group

APPEAL is supported by an Advisory Group who provide us with a wealth of experience and every-day advice


• Sophie Walker (barrister, One Pump Court) 

• Kat Craig (human rights lawyer, director of Athlead) 

• Peter Wilcock QC (barrister, Garden Court Chambers) 

• Calvin Duncan (former wrongfully convicted prisoner) 

• Francis Fitzgibbon QC (criminal barrister, 23 Essex Street) 

• Thom Dyke (criminal barrister, 9 Gough Square)

• Simon Ford (producer of Rough Justice television series) 

• Rikki Garg (prison law specialist, Chair of Prisoners Advice Service) 

• Stephen Heaton (researcher, Staff Director for the Innocence Project at University of East Anglia), 

• Carolyn Hoyle (Oxford Centre for Criminology Miscarriages of Justice specialist) 

• Laura Janes (prison, public law and appeals specialist, legal Director at Howard League) 

• Gareth Peirce (lawyer for Birmingham Six and Guildford Four) 

• Julie Price (Cardiff University Innocence Project) 

• Dr Dennis Eady (Cardiff University Innocence Project) 

• Christopher Riley (Sheffield Hallam University) 

• Jon Robins (legal journalist and Justice Gap editor) 

• Louise Shorter (investigative journalist, Inside Justice) 

• Brian Thornton (journalist and academic) 

• Paramjit Ahluwalia (barrister, Lamb Building Chambers) 

• Clive Stafford Smith (attorney, founder of Reprieve) 

• Former UK prisoners and their family members, who prefer to remain anonymous